Broadway Grosses w/e 5/13/2018: Let’s Hear it for the Plays!

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending May 13, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
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Affiliate Marketing for Theater Tickets.

Back in the late 90s, when Amazon was $48/share and my broker told me not to buy it because it was too expensive (PS, it’s $1,608/share now, which means a $10k investment would be worth $335k), they unrolled an aggressive marketing strategy that turned their customers into ambassadors.

That system?

They paid people for recommending them.

It’s called Affiliate marketing, and it has become a thing for many online retailers.  It goes like this:

You register with a company to be an “affiliate.”

You tell your friends, followers, subscribers, etc. about products and services that said company sells by sending them a unique URL or code.

If your friends buy a product or service from that company, you get some cash.

You don’t get paid much, but it’s something and it requires little or no effort at all.

And in exchange for those few bucks, companies like Amazon get a marketing army of online ambassadors sending traffic to their site . . . and they only pay when they make a sale!

Amazon’s affiliate system was an early initiative that they incorporated in their attempt to gain massive market share . . . and fast.

Now, here’s the interesting thing . . . almost two decades later, Amazon dominates the market.

So now that they have so much traffic, you’d think they’d abandon the affiliate system.

And you’d be wrong.

And when a company is this successful, yet still rewards their customers for sending other customers their way, it’s worth taking notice.

This isn’t a new concept.  Referrals are one of the most important parts of the sales process.  You sell someone on something (a ticket, an investment, whatever) and then you ask them if they know someone else who might be interested in the same product.

So . . . my question . . . you guessed it . . .  is why don’t we have affiliate marketing on our ticketing sites for ALL of our customers that is as easy as Amazon’s?

Both Ticketmaster and Telecharge have affiliate programs  . . . but they are not for everyone.  It’s more for B2B relationships.

And I’m not sure I understand why it’s not more of an open-for-all program.  What Producer wouldn’t pay a few bucks from their ticket price to gain the potential online ambassadors of an affiliate system?

We pay MORE than a few bucks for advertisements to sell tickets, why wouldn’t we pay consumers for recommending us?

Affiliate marketing is actually a cheaper and more effective form of advertising than most of the media we’re buying.

That’s why Amazon still does it.

And why you and I should too.

In fact, you know what?  I was going to end the blog with that last sentence, but I just realized something.  While I may not be able to create an affiliate program through my official ticketing sites, I can create a workaround.

So if you like my shows, from Once on this Island to Gettin’ The Band Back Together and want to make some extra money from home, email me . . . I’ll hook you up.

And if you’re producing a show, drop me a note and I’ll tell you how to set up a program like this for yourself.

 

 

Broadway Grosses w/e 5/6/2018: What did the Tony nominations do to the grosses?

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending May 6, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Podcast Episode 155 – The Profilic Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Nelle Nugent

Nelle Nugent is one of Broadway’s most prolific play Producers, and she started out as a Production Assistant.

She worked her way to the top at a time when women weren’t supposed to be anywhere near the top, and she’s got the stories to prove it.

But more than 50 shows later, she’s also got the successes to prove why she is one of our industry’s best.

I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Nelle to talk to her about some of her biggest hits (Dracula, The Gin Game, ‘Night Mother, The Dresser) and how Broadway has changed since her days as a PA, as well as . . .

  • What can make a great play fail.
  • How raising money for Broadway has changed over the last fifty years.
  • What she did to overcome the resistance she got for being a female Producer.
  • The chance encounter that led her to produce Dracula and WHY it became a hit (Hint: it didn’t have anything to do with what was on the page.).
  • When reviews matter and when they do NOT.

What we often forget is that Broadway is not that old of an industry, and people like Nelle helped lay the foundation for the work we’re all doing now.  We not only owe Producers like her a debt of gratitude, but if we listen closely to how they got where they are today, we might just learn how to get to where we want to be tomorrow.

Enjoy Nelle!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Nelle!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

What us Broadway folks can learn from the success of The Simpsons.

Earlier this week, The Simpsons celebrated its 30th anniversary on the air.

That’s right, both The Simpsons AND The Phantom of the Opera started entertaining audiences in 1987.

The cartoon has 32 Emmys on its hand-drawn shelf and is also the longest-running scripted, primetime entertainment series of all time (and is guaranteed to run for at least two more seasons).

Whenever anything is this successful, but especially when it’s in the entertainment industry, I always take a few moments to dig into the story, in the hopes I’ll find something we can learn/borrow/steal for our playbooks.

Here are three takeaways from The Simpsons success story that we should pay attention to:

  1. It’s a cartoon that isn’t just for kids. Like most success stories, part of the key to its early success was how unique of a product it was. We had never seen anything like it.  It was a cartoon that wasn’t on Saturday mornings. And while kids loved hearing Bart say “Cowabunga, dude!” and piss off his parents in each episode, adults loved it too. Potential audience size = doubled. Disney is a master at this as well, especially with their films, in creating something that parents can take their kids to and enjoy just as much as their younger counterparts do (School of Rock is another great example of this on Broadway).If you have a show that could attract a younger demographic, work extra hard that you still appeal to the parent-set, and you could find yourself with twice as much word-of-mouth and twice as long of a run.
  2. It incorporates the current. All great satires poke fun at what is currently happening in society. The Simpsons constantly wrote current events into its scripts, making it resonate that much more with an audience.  In the press world, we call this newsjacking . . . you write a story based on another story that people are talking about and get that much more attention (and often press). In the entertainment industry, we just call this smart.And sure, it got themselves into some controversies from time to time, but that ain’t all that bad either.

    Maybe your show is loose enough where you can literally call out current events (comedies like this one lend itself easily to that).  But if you can’t, you should still endeavor to have your story contain an undercurrent of a theme that’s currently being talked about at water coolers around the world.  Because it’ll make sure your show is being talked about at those coolers too.

  3. They used stars . . . as supporting players. Celebrity voices were common on The Simpsons for the past 30 years, but they were always supporting folks. The primary characters were voiced by actors you never heard of before, and the show actually made stars out of them.Audiences turned on The Simpsons for the show, not the stars, and got some celebrities as a bonus.

 

Remember, of the 10 longest running shows on Broadway, 9 of them debuted without stars. While in today’s day and age, it may feel safer to put a celebrity into your lead role, it’s not what leads to long-term success.

 

 

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